Monday, 9 January 2017

Dusky Thrush and Bean Geese

On Saturday we decided to not travel to far especially as Lesley took a rather nasty tumble during the week and is rather shaken.
First port of call was just down the road to Whitmore to try and see the 3 Tundra Bean Geese that have arrived in the flooded area just off Bent Lane, well it was so murky you couldn't make out the far side of the pools, so we thought we would call back latter in the day and head off to Beeley for the Dusky Thrush via Newcastle to hopefully bag a few Waxwing. No joy with the Waxwing just a few Redwings and Mistle Thrush in the trees so it was off to Derbyshire. Crossing the moors we left the fog and drizzle behind and enjoyed watching the Dusky Thrush in a field off Pig Lane. With that in the bag it was off to nearby Beeley Moor for the Great Grey Shrike our luck wasn't in though we had just missed the bird which had been on show but had disappeared over the ridge. We waited while we ate lunch for it to reappear but no joy.
So we made our way back home again try for Waxwing in Newcastle again no joy, we had also arrived back to fog and drizzle for once the weather was better up on the moors than in the town. The Tundra Bean Geese were on show at Whitmore but involved getting rather wet in the process of seeing them. Strangely enough Lesley didn't fancy leaving the warmth and dry of the car.

So on Sunday we headed back to Whitmore rather murky again but no where as bad a Saturday so Lesley was quite happy to get out of the car and managed to see them before they disappeared out of sight I imagine over the bank towards the stream.
We tried again for Waxwing around Hanley and Kidsgrove but no luck but at least we saw the most important target birds allowing Lesley 2 new life ticks and 1 for me.

Monday, 2 January 2017


After another failed attempt to try and see the Black Throated Thush at St Asaph (it looks like it has now left) Gem and me headed off to Llandudno West Shore to try and find some Snow Bunting, we found the place Ok after a few pointers while at St Asaph.
A chap informed the birds were just down the beach, which was quite busy a nice little spot it would nice in the Summer for a relax. Gem entertained herself while I took a few shots of the three Snow Bunting there.

We then headed off to the near by B & Q to see the Waxwing although we just managed one bird but its on the year list now. Turns out there were loads just down the coast but thats life.

On the way home we called into Rhos to try and see some Purple Sandpipers not a single one was on show, not a single wader at all on the sea defences although there were some out on the break water.

Finished the day off with Xmas Pudding ice-cream at Snugburys.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Waxwings and Raptors

Having got Christmas day out of the way and having another day together as a family but not wanting to be stuck indoors we ventured off firstly to see the Waxwings that had been around St Asaph in North Wales. Arriving at the village we soon saw a bunch of green clad people with large lenses so we new we were in the right spot.
Soon Waxwings were flying over our heads and dropping down from the trees by the river to feed in a small set of trees on the edge of the park, allowing for some great close up views even Gemma thought they were nice looking birds.

After getting our Waxwing fix we ventured off to try and see the Black Throat-ed Thrush this bird seems to keep doing a bunk and you just have to it seems stand staring at a bare Hawthorn bush in the hope it appears. After a quick look and having a five year old in tow we decided to move on to some where more child friendly in the shape of Burton Mere after a quick lunch time visit to Kinmel Bay to have our sandwiches. Around the beach we picked up Turnstone, Sanderling and Oystercatchcer.

Burton Mere didn't hold many birds to view from the visitor centre but it was warm and we could watch Shoveler feeding in the pools and Marsh Harrier drifting over the reed beds. Even a Sparrow Hawk was on show actually standing on the fringe of the reeds by the water edge before taking flight and putting all of the birds up in panic. After a quick walk around another raptor appeared in the trees just behind the toilets in the shape of a Merlin allowing for a few shots to be grabbed.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


Today me and Gem popped across to see the Dusky Thrush that had decided that this little Derbyshire village was to it's liking and had stuck around now for quite a while.
I just hope it sticks around for another week so Lesley can see it when we go to Bakewell for the farmers market and to stock up on whiskey from the Wee Dram.

It didn't take to long to find a place to park or indeed see the bird at first it was hidden in the middle of a Hawthorn hedge but did drop down to feed for a few minutes.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Haw Spotting

Numerous sightings of Hawfinch were coming out of Upper Longdon on Cannock Chase, this is a spot we have had mixed fortunes with in the past, dipping the Shrike but bagging a couple of Wood Lark.

After a lazy breakfast off we set soon as we turned up a chap was saying a bird was showing so off we plodded down the path and were soon enjoying views of this large Finch, which was soon joined by another and then more flew in soon a group of 7 birds were on show.

This was great and much better than our last views of this bird up at Cromford which was rather distant and that was a couple of years ago to boot.

I even managed to grab a few record shots which was a real bonus.

On the way back home we stopped off at the flooded fields near the Mainwaring arms and managed to see a large flock of Linnets with a few Goldfinch mixed in for good measure and a flock of Fieldfare close by.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Westport Lake

Today I decided to venture out during my lunch to try and hopefully see the Long Tailed Duck that had appeared at Westport Lake.
Not the best of conditions damp grey and drizzle didn't make for a pleasant lunch time stroll but it still beats being in work.
I was quite lucky as a kind chap pointed out the bird to me not that close in but I couldn't complain I had at least seen it and I took a couple of record shots to record the sighting.

Now I just need the Waxwings to appear again in the trees in front of the lab.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Burrton Mere

We decided to headed for Burton Mere today partly as we didn't know where else to go and partly to try out the Butty Van that has now taken up a trial residence there (we can recommend it after trying a very decent toastie), on the way we decided to firstly head for Connah's Quay Deeside Naturalist Reserve. We hadn't been there for a while and we had best get the most out of the membership.
Soon after turning up we saw around 40 Twite in with a mixed flock with some Linnet.

After lunch we went around Burton Mere firstly heading for the Inner Marsh hide which was devoid almost of life just two Shelduck were noted. At least we had picked up a Water Rail on the way there from the first screen and 4 Cattle Egret from the visitor centre.
A nice bonus was the Long Eared Owl roosting in the Hawthorn near the Inner Marsh Hide.